My experience with myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME), also known as chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) at 14 prompted this blog post. The 6-months it took to receive a diagnosis was amongst the most challenging of my life, as doctors and teachers accused me of faking it. I was plunged into a “mental boot camp”, of sorts, faced with only a 5% recovery rate. I wish I could go back and tell my younger self that everything would be alright, but now I know what it takes to “redefine my limits” and overcome adversity and I wouldn’t be without it.
Techniques I used to overcome adversity
For those living with a disability or chronic illness, the idea of redefining limits may seem daunting. The daily challenges and obstacles can make it difficult to see beyond your current reality and imagine a different future. But it’s important to remember that our limits are not set in stone, and that with determination and the right mindset, you can break free from these constraints and achieve your goals.
One of the first steps in redefining your limits is to shift your focus from what we can’t do to what you can do. This means looking at every situation as an opportunity, not a setback. By embracing possibility, you will open yourself up to new opportunities and new ways of thinking. Instead of dwelling on your limitations, focus on your strengths and the things you are capable of. For example, if you have a physical limitation, you may find ways to adapt your environment or find assistive technology that can help you complete tasks more easily.
Redefining your limits is to take action. You may not be able to change your physical limitations, but you can change how you approach them. This means setting realistic goals and taking small steps towards achieving them. It also means being willing to try new things and be open to different methods of achieving our goals. For example, if you have a chronic illness, you may need to adjust your work schedule to accommodate for flare-ups or find ways to manage your symptoms through diet, exercise, or medication.
Another way to redefine limits is by seeking support and surrounding yourself with people who understand and empathise with your experiences. This can be through joining support groups, talking to other people with similar experiences or working with medical and therapeutic professionals. Having a support system can provide a sense of community and validation, helping you feel less alone and more motivated to push through difficult times.
It is also important to remember that it’s okay to have bad days and to take a break when necessary. Living with a disability or chronic illness can be mentally and physically exhausting, and it’s important to take care of yourself. Be kind and adaptable and never beat yourself up when things don’t go as planned. This means setting realistic expectations and learning to accept your limitations while also striving to improve yourself every day.
Educating yourself and others about your condition is another important aspect of redefining your limits. Many people living with disabilities or chronic illnesses often experience discrimination, lack of understanding, or limited opportunities. By educating yourself and others, you can help create a more inclusive and accepting society that understands and values the contributions of people with disabilities and chronic illnesses.
Finally, redefining your limits means speaking up when you need accommodations, asking for help, and being persistent in your efforts to improve your life. It also means being willing to challenge societal stereotypes and prejudices that limit your opportunities.
Redefining your limits as a person with a disability or chronic illness is about embracing possibility, taking action, seeking support, being kind to yourself, educating yourself and others, and advocating for yourself. It’s about recognising that your limitations are not set in stone and that with determination and the right mindset, you can achieve your goals and live a fulfilling life. You must remember to keep an open-mind, stay positive, and never give up on your dreams. With hard work, perseverance, and the right attitude, you can accomplish anything.